The past few days felt like I was getting a glimpse into my future…
I had a busy weekend full of sessions and a wedding (as usual lately), and then I had Monday off from my day job to catch-up on editing & recover from a weekend of go-go-going. I guess none of these things are new to me as of late, because I have been shooting every weekend for months now and taking days off here and there from the office to keep up with the demands of running my own business. But, the closer I’m getting to making my dream of being a full-time photographer a reality – the more I think about what my life will actually look like when that happens, and what I want my life to look like when that happens.
As I’m sure you know if you read this blog, or know me personally – I have trouble sitting down or turning my mind off. I’m constantly thinking of the next step, replying to a new email, brainstorming ideas, or talking James’ head off about something business-related (poor guy). And the further into this I’m getting, the more I’m realizing that many people have working for yourself confused. Many from the outside think that people who work for themselves have an easier life because they are not answering to anyone but themselves. (I know I used to think this!) But the truth is – somehow – this feels like much harder work than working for someone else ever did (at least to me) – because I am responsible for myself.
I am responsible for continuing to bring money in so I can pay the bills, so my life can move forward. Every decision I make can either move my business forward or move it back. And because of that immense pressure to keep things moving forward – to stay afloat – many entrepreneurs find themselves working non-stop. They fear if they stop, or pause, or relax for one moment – that it will all come crashing down on them. That it all will end. (At least that’s the feeling I’ve been fighting for a while now – and I imagine others are as well.) I think I especially deal with this feeling because the amount of time I have to devote to my business right now is limited (due to 40+ hours of my week being devoted to another job). I always feel like every minute I have free should be spent on moving my business forward.
I saw a fitting quote on Twitter the other day that said, “An entrepreneur is someone who would rather spend 16 hours a day working for themselves, than spend 8 hours a day working for somebody else.” (Sad but true – at least from what I’ve seen/experienced.) But the truth is – that lifestyle isn’t a requirement. And I hope that my life as an entrepreneur won’t necessarily have to be like that some day. Because, as most of you know, my life changed quite a bit recently, and that change has really got me thinking about how I spend my time… about what is truly important to me. Although this business, and pursuing my passion/dream is incredibly important to me – it will never be as important to me as the people I love in my life. So in the past month I’ve been working on re-prioritizing my life. I’ve realized that I can pursue my dreams without forgetting about all the people I care about (most importantly, James… who tends to take a back seat most days to photos I have to edit, or emails I have to reply to. Ugh, I really, really hate admitting that).
But since Phoenix died, I’ve been checking myself and reevaluating how I spend my time. I’ve been scheduling my life so that I’m more productive in the time I do spend on photography, so that I can spend more quality time with people I love. I don’t ever want something to happen to someone and to have the first thought in my mind be, “I wish I had done _____ differently,” or, “I wish I had spent more time with them.”
So I’m working to avoid regretting things in my life. I can pursue what I love, and still spend time with those I love. So this weekend I worked my butt off, and then I came back to Chicago and spent Sunday afternoon/night with some of my favorite people in life – James, my cousin Chelsea, and her boyfriend, Dan. We watched the World Cup game together over a few beers and caught up on the past few months of our lives. (They live in Iowa… so we don’t see them much.) I laughed my face off, (as I usually do with Chels) and had an all around fabulous time. Then James and I went out for ice cream and hit the hay early so we were well rested for a productive Monday.
Monday came and I woke up without an alarm by 7am and got right to work. I worked my butt off again, knowing that at 2 o’clock I would get to take a couple hours off to spend time with James. We went swimming at our gym together and came home to make a real dinner. (I know!! Impressive! haha) Lots of quality time so that when I got back to work again a few hours later – my mind was at ease that I was spending my time wisely, in ways I was happy with.
Throughout this process in the last few weeks, I’ve realized that when I feel better about how I’m living my life and spending my time, I’m more productive, and I feel healthier & happier. So I hope to continue living this way and bring these new priorities with me as I make the transition to full-time… as I pursue my dreams.
I saw a glimpse into my future the last few days, and I liked what I saw. 🙂
These thoughts came about because since Phoenix passed away I have been thinking about all the times she would come up to try to get my attention and get me to stop working for a minute. She’d paw at my leg, sneeze at me, bark at me, squeeze her way under my desk and sit on the power cord’s switch – shutting the entire computer system off (a pretty successful way of getting me to stop working)! ha ha 🙂 And more often than not – she would put a paw on my leg and look up at me, waiting for the ‘ok’ to climb up on my lap and chill with me while I worked. The other day I stumbled across these images James snapped of one of these moments. (Except that Phoenix apparently was more interested than normal in what exactly I was doing on the computer… haha)